Check out this brilliant video from Water Skills Academy on how to fit a SUP quick release leash and waist belt.
This video shows how leashes have progressed from surf leashes, to coiled leashes and now to quick release waist belts. A QR belt keeps the leash up and out of the water, away from snag hazards. For those paddling on water with flow, and the potential for snagging, they ensure that the paddler can easily release their leash.
The video includes a great demo of how difficult it is to remove an ankle/knee leash in moving water should it ever get snagged. It also introduces one of the new breed of self releasing leashes. These systems are strong enough to retrieve your board should you fall off, but have a failsafe that means they’ll come detached under high loads. This could potentially be lifesaving should your leash ever get snagged on a mooring buoy, or underwater obstruction.
Current industry thinking is that whilst coiled ankle leashes may be OK in sheltered water, they’re not suitable on moving water. Look at getting a QR belt if you want to take your paddling further. There may also be (controversially) occasions where you want to remove your leash completely. Always buy from a reputable paddlesport manufacturer so you know the gear has been tested rigorously and, finally, make sure that you’ve practiced your release on dry land so you’re ready to go should you need it.